Women at their best
Opening Film : Samon's Daughter Japanese woman filmmaker Akiko Nakamura spoke at the University of Hong Kong Black Box Theatre on her first feature experimental film.
2015-2016 FILM PROGRAMS
France / 11min / Drama / Charles Jacquard
Switzerland / 23min / Sci-Fi / Thomas Kaufmann
Canada / 16min / Documentary / Daniela Apostoaei
Japan / 22min / Sci-Fi, comedy / Kaichi Sato
Poland / 16min / Drama /
USA / 22min / Drama / Chung Lam
Folie A Deux
United Kingdom / 5min / MV / Poon Sap
USA / 11min/ Drama / Mischa Auzins
Turkey / 9min / Animation, Sci-Fi / Gokalp Gonen
USA / 6min / Musical / Sean Robinson
China / 19min / Comedy / Su Sixing, Chen Majun
France / 16min / Sci-Fi / Youcef Mahmoudi
Rapunzel's Etymology of Zero
USA / 14min / Animation / Seth Podowitz
Red Earth Calling
USA / 13min / Dance / Jennifer Jessum
USA / 20min / Experimental / Eugene Park
A Shadow of Dara
United Kingdom / 15min/ Sci-Fi / Kirill Proskura
Denmark / 30min / Documentary / Josefine Gervang Heimburger
USA / 12min / Experimental / Camille de Galbert
A Solitary Mann
USA / 40min / Documentary / Loic Zimmermann
Canada / 5min / Documentary / Jeffrey Chong
Interview with Filmmakers
An interview with Cosima Littlewood , director of A God for Every Sin. August 2016
Cosima is in Hong Kong to talk about her new film project which is based on the life of the female Chinese poet Li Qingzhao.
" You were curious about why I became interested in Li Qingzhao. A few years ago, I studied Chinese Philosophy (concentrating on Confucius, Zhuangzi, Mencius, Xunzi, Zhu Xi) and I began to wonder about the place of women in this philosophy since the texts seemed to be directed towards men and their moral development. I began to read morality texts for women and funerary inscriptions about women from the Han onwards to see what place women held in society.
This in turn led me to discover the great poet Li Qingzhao, a fascinating emblem of her time as she embodied Sung ideals of female virtue and experience through her romantic poetry and yet she also wrote in a time when Neo-Confucians generally disapproved of women writing.
She was simultaneously a rebel and highly regarded because of her talent. I was very moved by her ci poems and decided that this was material I wanted to explore as a filmmaker. However, instead of making a straightforward biopic film on Li Qingzhao, I am developing a story about a contemporary young woman discovering her poetry and its effect on her, as that is a position I can more closely identify with. "
" Gina, you asked me about a current film that impressed me.
I recently watched Ex Machina (2015) and found it mesmerizing in its content and cinematography. Recently, genre films have been somewhat dismissed by critics, but I think when genre films are well done they can be very powerful, such as this science fiction film.
Ex Machina raised some very smart questions about the future of human beings and our growing relationship with artificial intelligence.
Alex Garland, the writer-director, is a master storyteller within the medium of cinema; his timing is sharp, his use of visual language on point. I also have written genre films. Rather than finding them limiting, I actually find them liberating because they give you a structure to follow but also subvert. For rules to be broken, you need to know what they are first."
How can more women make films ?
For women to make more films, the film industry has to change and be willing 'take a chance' on young women directors just as they already do with young men directors in whom they see potential. Until that becomes a reality, more grants need to be geared towards helping women make their first feature films, since that is one of the hardest thresholds to cross.
New York very admirably just started a $5 million fund to assist women filmmakers and theatre makers complete their projects. Women are just as capable, talented, artistic, and intelligent and it is simply a question of opportunity and resources.
Can you tell our Hong Kong audience about your film A God for Every Sin ?
The writing of A God For Every Sin came very easily to me once I had done my research on Korean comfort women. It did not require a big budget and my crew and I were resourceful.
Finding an audience for this film has not been too difficult either, since the subject of comfort women has been in the news especially this year as Japan and Korea have been negotiating.
The most challenging aspect of A God For Every Sin was in its artistic execution: how to convey on screen what I had written on the page from my imagination. It was no easy task. How to create this dark universe I had imagined practically, how to build a set you couldn't see and how to light the scene so that just enough detail could be made out by the viewers to follow the story but still shroud it in mystery?
I worked this out carefully with my cinematographer and crew, building a set from scratch with dark material. I wanted to share my appreciation of the aesthetic of shadows as Jun'ichiro Tanizaki had conveyed to me in the seminal text In Praise of Shadows, one of the first inspirations for my film. I believe we achieved our goals!